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  • Finished my homework early tonight, had less to prepare than I thought for my 3 classes tomorrow. Drove a half mile to the liquor store to get some beer. Walking in, I passed an old man outside on a bench by the door. He was scratching off an instant ticket that matched the few on the ground by his feet. I grabbed a 6-pack from the cooler and asked for a 5-dollar quick-pick for tonight's Mega Millions. "What's it up to?" I said, as the ticket was printing. "24 million," she replied. "That'll be $11.41." I gave her a 10, a single, four dimes from my pocket and a penny from the little tray, exact change. Said thanks and walked out.

    Now the old man was holding up his ticket and staring at it, slowly shaking his head, in a trance, it seemed--as if he'd just gotten terrible news.

    Almost winter already, it feels like. The night is too cold too early. 55 degrees.

    Driving back home, passing the library, the sign on my left reads, "Star Gazing at the Library, September 9, 7:00." Just after 9:00 now, I pass by at about 30 mph and turn to see if people are still there. I see a group of about 9 in the brightly lit parking lot, looking up, with the High School Football Field lit up just beyond them. Now I shake my head, thinking they must not be able to see much more than the moon. And on my right, where I got my hair cut today for fourteen dollars--seventeen, including tip--and where the woman who cut my hair bought 7 pizzas for $39 to support my 6 year-old daughter's first grade fund raiser, the sign reads, "Lowlights $65."

    I pull into my driveway, put my key in the door and walk in to where I briefly left 3 candles burning, unattended. I grab a beer, twist off the cap with the price tag of $5.99 on it and sit outside among a concert of countless crickets. It’s been a long week but tomorrow is Wednesday again, and my 3 kids will be home with me for the night. For this night, though, I'm ok; just one.
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